State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations
State House
Providence, Rhode Island 02903-1196

Donald L. Carcieri

November 4, 2007


        In accordance with the provisions of Section 14, Article IX of the Constitution of the State of Rhode Island and Section 43-1-4 of the Rhode Island General Laws, I transmit, with my disapproval 2007-S 1152, "An Act Relating to Primary Elections."

        This act would change the Presidential Preference Primary from March 4, 2008 to February 5, 2008.  The act also amends the date requirements for declaration of candidacy and for party affiliation for delegates, the filing dates for presidential candidates, the signature collection deadlines, and the signature certification timetable.

        Although some may believe that a February Presidential Preference Primary might allow Rhode Island primary voters to feel more relevant to the nomination process, changing the date this late hour would create an excessive burden on the local boards of canvassers.  Over the past three days, most of the boards have written to express their opposition.  However, this option should be fully explored in a fashion more consistent with a fair, open, and transparent process.  All stakeholders should be afforded the courtesy of conveying their support, opposition, and/or concerns with this legislation.

        The advertising and disaffiliation dates that were changed in this act, the required training for poll workers, as well as the logistical and financial issues involved will prove significant burdens to the local boards of canvassers.  Therefore, to enact this piece of legislation at this late time would place an undue hardship on local communities who have planned fiscally and otherwise for the upcoming 2008 election cycle.

        A version of this legislation was originally introduced on February 15, 2007.  The original legislation was approved by the Senate but never considered by the House of Representatives.  It was not until October 30, 2007 during a special legislative session to override a number of my vetoes that a brand new version of this legislation emerged without official notice.  Because the local boards of canvassers were not notified in a timely manner that this legislation would be considered, they had no opportunity to testify on the bill's merits or to raise logistical  or financial concerns.  As a result, the people being asked to undertake these tasks were denied there civic privilege of testifying on the aforementioned new version of the bill.

        Had a version of this legislation been enacted during the regular legislative session that ended in June, I would have allowed it to become law without my signature.  However, because it was enacted at such a late date in the process without the opportunity for testimony and because it will place unexpected and difficult burdens on local boards of canvassers and other citizens attempting to participate in the primary election process, I have no choice but to object.

        For these reasons, I disapprove of this legislation and respectfully urge your support for this veto.


Donald L. Carcieri